Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why I Shop Alone

I shop alone. I do it on purpose, and there are reasons why I do it. Sometimes, other people are with me. That's fine. But I prefer to do it alone. Why?

1. There's less pressure to buy. For a long time, I used to go into the city centre with my brother and he would encourage me to buy the things I wanted. This has resulted in me owning a lot of DVDs, but not really having much money saved until relatively recently. If I could go back two years and change things, I would. Most of those DVDs were watched once and never again.

2. I can decide to spend as much time as I want in a shop. This works both ways. When I'm with someone, I feel like I either have to rush, or like I'm waiting on them to make up their mind on something. If I really want to go to another shop, this can bother me a lot. When I'm alone, I can browse for as little or as long as I want. I once spent over an hour looking around a bookshop looking for books that were five euro or less, because I didn't have much expendable income that week, but I did have a five euro voucher for the shop. I found a book, too. I wouldn't have if I was rushing for someone else.

3. I don't have to worry about what people think about what I'm looking at. I can become quite self conscious about my reading habits especially when I'm out. I'm not entirely sure why. I've gotten more comfortable with it of late, but for a while I didn't want my friends or family to see me looking at books in the Business or Personal Development sections, because it didn't seem like anyone my age was reading them. Then it occurred to me that people my age are mainly working in retail jobs they hate, or aren't working at all, and here I was trying to learn more about business and how to improve myself, and I didn't feel quite so put off looking at the books with other people there. I've read them in public, now. I've read them in college, and I've read them on the bus, and when people ask what I'm reading I'll show them. (Oddly, I was more comfortable looking at Science Fiction and Fantasy in front of people. I was more willing to be nerdy and weird than to look like I wanted to do something different with my life.) I wouldn't have the confidence to look at whatever books I like now if I hadn't done it in private, first.*

Those are just three reason I shop alone, but they say an awful lot about my shopping experiences. I like to be able to look at things in detail. I can't do that with someone looking over my shoulder.

I like to go to different shops and do what I like in them. I can't do that if somebody else needs to go to a shop on the opposite side of the city, not without a lot more walking. It's partly me being lazy, and partly me being aware of how little time we really have before we have to get a bus home, because we still have dinner as a family as much as possible in my house. Plus, you know, shops have to close at some point!

I'd never tell someone I don't want to go somewhere with them. That's not my point here. If there's company, I'll take it. There are advantages to it, too. It's a lot less lonely. It can be more fun. Usually, if I want to go somewhere alone to save time, I just do it. If I don't mind the company, I'll tell someone (usually my twin) in advance. If he wants to go, he will. If he doesn't, he won't. Simple as that.

This blog post came to me when I came to a conclusion with my friend: either she pick a shop she wanted to go to instead of her going for her bus, or I was going to a bookshop a bit too far from her stop alone. It was late-ish; she went for her bus. I shopped alone. I bought nothing.

*This is sort of like women reading erotica, feeling put off by it because of what people might think. Then Fifty Shades of Grey happened and it didn't have a bare-chested man on the cover, and suddenly it was okay for people to read them. They weren't embarrassed by the genre any more. I'm not a fan of the series, but I like that people can read what they enjoy without feeling insecure about it, now. I know what it's like to feel like people are judging you for what you read because of your age and/or the contents of the book. Yes, my reading of Business and Personal Development books is akin to others reading erotica - guilty pleasures, people, guilty pleasures.

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